Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Know I've Been Slack

I have quite a lot to report, but no time today, so I'll just leave you with this. Talk about overplaying a song. And it is Tuesday after all. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Innovation Starts at Home.

"There is no force more powerful than a geek without internet", to quote bso. He was moved from his room due to some Canadian visitors and forced into the spare room where there is no room for a table (don't ask, it's bwo other, other store room). The need to game actually forced him to take action and this is the result. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lost Dog and Found

What a story. We lost Roxy this afternoon. Someone (no one here admits to it) left the gate open and when the girl came home from the army around 1pm, no dog. Panic. Panic and more panic. The whole family was enlisted they walked the streets, drove the area, called and whistled, but no Roxy . I had meetings till 3pm and came home straight after and treked the streets putting up lost dog fliers everywhere. Dozens of them. We were frantic. She had her pink collar but had bitten off the little thing that had our cell number, so there was no real way anyone could get hold of us if she was found. We called the city, bwo went to visit the pound. I walked for hours in the heat asking everyone I met if they had seen her. I got lots of advice - this is Israel after all, but no dog. "You have to walk around and ask people", I was told. "You need to call all the vets". "Go to where she was found". "Forget it, she must have been stolen". "You shouldn't have left the gate open" etc. etc.

At around 6pm bwo got a call. Someone had perhaps seen her at Makom Balev (a restaurant on the other side of Raanana). So bwo shot over and yes it was our Roxy. Joy, we have her back.

Now here is the story. While walking around looking for her, one of the nephews happened to ask a construction worker if he had seen a little black dog. He hadn't. But while he was walking through the park on the corner of Shai Agnon and Pardes Meshutaf (quite far), he saw a little lost black dog and remembered someone had mentioned losing her. So he picked her up and took her to Makom Balev. No one knew who she belonged to, but she is friendly and playful, so they fed her sausages. Now it just so happens that bwo's Tarot teacher's son works at Makom BaLev. He also lives in a building at the bottom of our street. On his way home from work after his shift he noticed one of the fliers we had put up outside the house. He called the number, recognized bwo's voice and the rest is history.

I don't know that we are cut out for this level of responsibility.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Roxi (Roxanne)

Roxi joined the family yesterday. She is very pretty and has her mother's (bwo's) eyes.  She has chewed through her leash, ate a hole in bso's jeans, peed on the floor a few times, but she is totally loved by all. She is relatively calm, except for when she has her berserks. Roxi is not yet used to walking on a leash, but is getting better and she does SIT when instructed (that's already better than the kids).

Being that she is supposed to be a Border Collie, used to herd sheep (just watch One Man and His Dog), she seems to want to round up the cats. They of course find this completely inappropriate and uncouth. I believe they are writing their congressman (it's probably Nancy) to voice their outrage at this intrusion. Roxi is still pretty scared of them, and mostly watches from a distance. The few times Nancy has decided to show who's the boss, Roxi retreats yelping and crying. She also has a total fear of metal gratings. There are a few on our walk and she refuses to cross them. Probably a trauma suffered early in life.

She is reputed to be three months old and was found in a dumpster in the industrial area by some friends of bwo's. They put up signs but no one claimed her and so were going to take her to the pound. This we could not let happen - the only dog I have ever wanted is a Border Collie, so it seems fated. Let's see how good she is at training us. We respond well to conditioning, just ask the cats (we don't even need treats).

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Interesting day today. We bought a new mizbeleh for bwo to drive around in and it seems we will have a dog. Neither have officially arrived, but the decisions have been made. The dog is a border collie (the only make of dog I have ever wanted) and the car is a Hyundai i30CW.

Stay tuned, this is looking like a whole new level of insanity.

p.s. When I arrived home from the conference in Jerusalem yesterday there was also a huge mixer (kitchen appliance like a Kenwood or KitchenAid) still in box sitting in the lounge.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ice in Winter

My dad really valued ice cubes. When I was growing up back in the old country, he was constantly on my case about not filling the ice trays. He had a whole stack of them in the freezer behind the swinging door to the kitchen. Now, I like ice in my drinks, so when we came to this overheated desert of a country we made the wise move of buying an American fridge with an icemaker. The fridge was hopelessly expensive and actually never worked well, but man, the ice it put out was splendid. A bottomless pit of the stuff, compact and perfectly sized.  The fridge was so useless that it never even earned itself a name, it was alway just the fridge (or as bwo called it, the "cheaper fridge that her husband minged out on and would not by the Rolls Royce of a fridge that she had set her heart on").

Anyway, a while ago the ice maker stopped working. First it would put out great clumps of siamese twin-like co-joined cubes, then it moved on to making icebergs not unlike the one that sank the Titanic. The fridge doctor (who by now had our phones on speed dial) told us that the ice machine was not worth repairing. This was just the excuse bwo needed and off she went looking for a new fridge. I wisely stayed out of the selection process, one learns a few survival skills after 25 years. The new silver fridge moved in a few months back, and has become part of the family. The old fridge is now out on the back porch looking forlorn and alone - serves it right.

The new fridge is one of those faceless Asian models. It's quite big, but as all fridges in our lives, it's always packed full to the gills. But.... bwo settled on a model with no ice maker. Instead it has these build in ice trays. So life has gone a full circle. I'm constantly pissed off at being the only one to ever fill the ice trays. At least it brings me a little closer to my dad.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

End of an Era

Today was the final day at squint central, Hamenofim 1. I thought I would be much more unhappy at leaving the building we worked for the last 12 years, but the upkeep has gone to hell and the place is looking old and tired (like me). So moving to new facilities should be a change for the better. Perhaps. I was particularly pissed off today when I found out that some assclown had decided to make off with my excellent Henckels Pro 8" chef knife. This knife was used nearly daily to cut our salad. It was so good I refused to use it, preferring to not spoil myself and let the squints enjoy a "real" knife. Even though I am trying to not get so attached to things, this incident left a particularly bad taste in my mouth.

So on Sunday it's off to Yakum for the squints and I. A whole new page, a cafeteria and gym but no supermarket or health food shop downstairs. New traffic patterns to get used to and a multistory car park (with those stupid car elevators). Miles of cubes all shiny and beige smelling of fresh paint and carpet glue. I hope we find a good home there, as I hope the Henckels has.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Good One

Yesterday I got up early. I was due at the Tel at 5am for my weekly visit, but found I could not sleep a moment longer and so hit the road from Raanana around 3:30am. I made good time in the quiet Israeli pre dawn, and arrived at Megiddo about 40 minutes before the team buses were due. I have the code to open the gates, so in I drove, parked and silently made my way up to the top of the Tel.

It was completely quiet, the only sounds were the faint banging of the construction crews working on Kvish HaSargel a few kilometers in the distance.  I pulled up a rock and sat looking out to the east over the Area K dump, with Afula in the distance. I watched the sky slowly turn pink and saw Venus, with Jupiter above silently sink (I looked up the sky map on my phone - I think this whole technology thing may just catch on). I breathed deeply and just sat and listened to the stones sigh. A small band of foxes ran by on their way to raid the nearby kibbutz's garbage. I heard the birds start chattering in the palm trees. No words can do this justice.

Beliebe it or not. the day actually got better. The Area K folks had set aside the pithos in O9 for me to excavate. It was such a treat and I was so completely absorbed that I skipped breakfast. Then back to Ramat HaShofet for lunch and some minor fixes of the TS_formatter code. A shower, pottery reading, picture database, then dinner and a beer to welcome the second session team, finally the drive back home to hop into my bed at around10pm.  An excellent day, one of the best ever, made all the more special by the total escape from everyday life for a day. Am I not the luckiest person alive?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Back Home, and life goes on.

I'm back home. I am sad. The three weeks of archaeology went by in a flash. I had the most wonderful time and need to thank so may people, from Israel Finkelstein, to Mario and Melissa and many many others. I got to dig in the best square on the Tel and learned more than I believed possible.  My computers and programs seem to be working and things are running pretty smoothly technologically.  I will go back now once a week to help out and to make sure there are no problems with the tech stuff.  They promised me that come Monday I could dig out the big pithos jar I found in my square.

I have had a restful weekend but have a very black Saturday evening feeling. I am not really looking forward to dealing with the more than 500 emails I need to sort out tomorrow.  Our move to Yakum has been postponed by a week so at least I have a week to say goodbye to the old office. It will be hard to explain to the squints just how different my life has been the last few weeks.

Life goes on.  I have had a tough time adjusting to being home, but it is nice to sleep in my own bed and shower in our shower.  I am seriously hooked.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Last Week

It's the evening of the first day of my last week at the dig.  It has been awesome so far. Way beyond any on my expectations. It's bittersweet to have only four more days of digging left.  The time has flown by.  I have had the good fortune to be working in an interesting square in a wonderful area with all sorts of finds. Learning more each and every day.  I have also seen my software provide value to the people here.  It feels good to be able to contribute to this effort.

I went home over the weekend and packed up my office as next Sunday I go back to work in the new offices in Yakum. It was quite sad for me.  We have been in the same place for 12 years. From the day I arrived in Israel I have worked on or near the first floor of the building at HaMenofim 1.  Change must come, I suppose.  I will miss Herzliya and it's excellent restaurants and easily accessible supermarkets and drugstores. It took no more than a few hours to get all my office into boxes and then home for an early night as I was up at 3:15am to get to the Tel by 5.

Bwo came out to dig with me last Thursday. She worked in a different area and had a good time. I am glad she got to see what I love about all this.  It is like summer camp for grown ups (well some of us are grown ups).  She also saw how hard it is physically.  I am amazed I am more or less holding up. I ache all over to be honest and this 52 year old body is being taxed to its limit.  I arrived this morning all fresh and full of energy but by 1pm was completely wiped out and could hardly drag myself to lunch. But a shower and two good meal does wonders.

Tonight is the final of the Euro, and most everyone will go over to the Kibbutz pub to watch. I'm going straight to bed. I'll find out the result in the morning. I'll keep it short today, but believe me, I have enough experiences to fill a month of blogs